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In 2019 the InterLaw Diversity Forum signed an MOU with the American Bar Association (“ABA”) to adapt the ABA’s US Model Diversity Survey ("ABA MDS" for use in the United Kingdom. The ABA MDS is now in its fifth year with over 150 Client Signatories and nearly 500 Law Firm Participants in the United States. In 2020 we solidified this arrangement with the ABA by signing a further “Collaboration Agreement”. Our UK adaptation is entitled the InterLaw Diversity Forum UK Model Diversity Survey ("UK MDS").

The UK Model Diversity Survey (“UK MDS”) is a supplier diversity questionnaire which corporate and financial institutions (“Signatories”) use to monitor their panel firms/legal service suppliers on diversity, inclusion, and culture. The purpose of the survey is to serve as the standard for law firms’ reporting of their diversity metrics. The benefits the survey has are data uniformity, time efficiency, and trending year over year in aggregate and for individual firms.

Foundation Signatories:

  1. Barclays Europe

  2. [Not yet public]

  3. BNP Paribas

  4. Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

  5. BT

  6. Bupa

  7. Cable & Wireless Communications

  8. Cambridge University Press & Assessment

  9. CBRE

  10. Credit Karma

  11. EE

  12. GLP

  13. Google

  14. HSBC 

  15. Jefferies

  16. Kantar 

  17. Meggitt

  18. Microsoft

  19. Morgan Stanley

  20. [Not yet public]

  21. NatWest

  22. NBCUniversal

  23. Peloton

  24. PGIM

  25. Rokos Capital

  26. Santander

  27. [Not yet public]

  28. Schroders Personal Wealth

  29. Southern Water

  30. Springer Nature

  31. The Crown Estate

  32. Uber

  33. UBS

  34. Visa Europe

Foundation Law Firm Participants

  1. Akin Gump

  2. Ashurst

  3. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP)

  4. Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft

  5. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

  6. CMS UK

  7. Cooley

  8. [Not public]

  9. [Not public]

  10. Fieldfisher

  11. Fladgate

  12. Greenberg Traurig

  13. Harbottle & Lewis 

  14. Herbert Smith Freehills

  15. Hogan Lovells

  16. Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

  17. Latham & Watkins

  18. Linklaters

  19. GQ Employment Law

  20. Mayer Brown

  21. Osborne Clarke

  22. [Not public]

  23. [Not public]

  24. Reed Smith

  25. Shoosmiths

  26. Sidley Austin

  27. Simmons & Simmons

  28. Squire Patton Boggs

  29. Sullivan & Cromwell 

  30. Towerhouse

  31. Walker Morris

  32. White & Case

The UK MDS has been adapted with kind permission from the updated and improved 2021 version of the American Bar Association's Model Diversity Survey in the US ("ABA MDS"). As part of our continued collaboration with the ABA, future iterations of both versions will continue to mirror each other as much as possible, and will cross-pollinate as we share improvements back and forth. We are using the same service provider to run the online platform, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), a not-for-profit testing organisation in the United States who are generously supporting this project.

N.B.The UK MDS and the ABA MDS will run as two parallel but totally separate and independent systems. They will, however, have identical user interfaces and functionality, enabling them easily to be used in conjunction with each other.

As part of our adaptation for the UK market, we have worked with the SRA to ensure all our diversity categories align with what the SRA will required law firms to report in their 2021 Diversity Questionnaire. Law Firms will be able to use the diversity data they collected in the SRA questionnaire, combined with other information held in HR, to complete the UK MDS.

We have received GDPR advice for the UK MDS from Reed Smith, with support from Paul Hastings.

 

The UK MDS can help clients shape their decisions about allocation of legal work to law firms/legal suppliers by creating greater transparency around diversity, inclusion, and culture in law firms. Microsoft has developed a dashboard to be used by the Signatories to make the data collected by the UK MDS truly accessible and useable. So instead of reams of tabular data sitting with procurement only, GCs and their legal teams can now easily dig in to compare their panel firms, including comparing their stats over time, if they wish to consider performance around diversity, inclusion, and culture when handing out work.

The UK Model Diversity Survey will assist law firms in providing uniform, thorough, and accurate information to their corporate and financial institution clients. Further, it will streamline D&I data collection for law firms by allowing firms to provide a single, uniform set of data to multiple clients. Firms are currently asked for a different set of diversity data, cut a different way, from every client who collects it.  The more firm clients who use the UK MDS, the greater the cost and time savings for the firm.

 

About the Dashboard

Microsoft has developed an online dashboard to make the data collected by the UK MDS more accessible and useable. This dashboard enables the Signatories to draw out information and insights which might not be possible when viewing such large amounts of data in a tabular format. Clients will be able to make like-for-like comparisons between their panel law firms/legal service providers, as well as to compare data over time and measure their panel firms’ progress.

As part of the development of the UK MDS, we assembled a working group of general counsel, senior in-house lawyers, D&I experts, and law firm representatives to consult on the project. We consulted and coordinated with the SRA to ensure our diversity and social mobility categories are the same as those the SRA required law firms to collect on in Summer 2021. We are working with the same supplier as the ABA, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), to develop the infrastructure and systems to launch the UK version.
 

 

Current Status of the Project:

 

The 2021 UK MDS data submission period for Law Firm Participants has now closed. 

 

We are ​continuing to onboard new Law Firm Participants who will be able to participate in the next iteration of the survey, the 2022 UK MDS, being released this summer.

We welcome new Signatories to join at anytime.

 

If your organanisation would like to participate – either as a Signatory or a Law Firm Participant – please contact: Jonathan.Leonhart@interlawdiversityforum.org

Coming in 2023: Bolt-on Programmes to the UK MDS

Recent panel events discussing the UK MDS